Writing An Effective & Honest Performance Review

Performance reviews are an essential part of any successful organization. It provides a formal opportunity for employers to assess their employee’s work and offer constructive feedback.

Regular performance reviews are crucial for organizations that want to succeed. So if you’re not already conducting regular performance reviews for your employees, it’s time to start!

However, providing feedback to your employees after a performance review is essential. Writing a performance review report about an employee can be challenging. It’s why this guide is focused on helping you learn how to write performance review summary.

We’ve included some incredible examples of performance review summaries generated using Hey INK. You can gain inspiration from this guide while you use the tool to quickly create a summary that perfectly describes the employee you’re reviewing.

What Is A Performance Review?

A performance review is a formal evaluation of an employee’s job performance over a period of time. The manager or supervisor of a company usually conducts it. Performance review may involve input from other team members or stakeholders. Many organizations see this as a routine, yearly check-off box.

The process focuses on the employee’s job responsibilities, accomplishments, and areas for improvement. A performance review may include goal-setting for the following year. 

Performance reviews are important for fostering a positive and productive work environment. It is an opportunity for the employee and the employer to assess their contribution to the organization and identify areas for development.

Performance reviews allow companies to learn about their strengths and weaknesses and set new and realistic goals. It is also a means of providing valuable insights into the performance of the team. 

What to Include in a Performance Review Summary

A performance review should be a constructive and informative process, not just a list of criticisms or complaints.

It is important, to be honest and transparent in your review. You must also provide support and guidance to help employees grow and succeed. 

There are some key details to include in your performance review summary. These include:

  • A brief statement of the employee’s job responsibilities and how they have fulfilled them.
  • An assessment of the employee’s strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Specific examples of the employee’s performance, both negative and positive.
  • Any feedback or coaching that has been provided to the employee.
  • A discussion of the employee’s goals and steps they have taken to achieve them.
  • A summary of the employee’s overall performance.

How to Write Performance Review Summary

Writing an employee performance review summary can be a challenging task. But it is an integral part of the employee development process. 

Here are some tips on how to write performance review summary.

1. Review the employee’s job description

Start by reviewing the employee’s job description and any specific goals or objectives that have been set for them. This will help you understand the employees’ responsibilities and how they have met those expectations.

2. Gather relevant data and information

Source for any relevant information on the employee’s productivity, quality of work, attendance, and any feedback or evaluations from customers.

3. Use a standardized performance review template.

This step is important to help arrange all the necessary information and provide a consistent format for all employee reviews.

4. Use specific examples to illustrate your points.

When discussing the employee’s strengths and areas for improvement, it is essential to provide specific examples to support your assessment.

5. Focus on the performance, not the personality

A performance review should be about the employee’s job performance, not their characteristics or traits.

6. Be transparent

Be honest and transparent in your assessment and objective and fair.

7. Provide constructive feedback

Provide specific feedback to help the employee grow and succeed in their role.

8. Discuss the employee’s goals and development needs

Discuss the employee’s long-term career goals and potential development needs.

9. Set SMART goals 

At the end of the review, it is crucial to set goals and objectives for the employee. This will help ensure the employee has clear direction and a sense of purpose.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

SMART goals involve identifying targets and outlining a timeline for achieving them.

10. Provide guidance for professional development and career progression

The entire purpose of performance reviews is to support your employees’ development and improve their performance. Never criticize or complain about a single employee’s actions or lack of abilities as a boss.

Instead, offer your best guidance for each bad behavior your employee demonstrates. Inform them of the resources they have, ways they may improve themselves, and ways you can support their professional growth.

11. Ensure that your tone is positive.

A performance evaluation shouldn’t make any employee cringe. You should always be positive while pointing out strong points and problems you’ve noticed.

The phrases “You’ll never be able to…”, “You can’t enhance this…”, and “I can’t believe you didn’t…” should be avoided. These undermine the motivation and gratitude your team needs because any unfavorable comments will overshadow any earlier positive ones.

12. Always follow up

The evaluation process is only worthwhile if you follow up to ensure the employee takes action on what was mentioned during performance assessments. Plan time regularly to monitor progress toward goals, assess where they have improved, and offer assistance if they get stuck.

Take each stage one at a time and progressively improve your ability to provide guidance. Use feedback on performance to assist your team in advancing rather than concentrating on everything that went wrong.

Examples of Performance Review Summary

black and white typewriter on white table
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash


John is a highly communicative employee. He consistently shows advanced understanding and enthusiasm in verbal and written communication. 

His articulate use of language, especially during group meetings, helps his teammates understand him better. He also excels at creating exciting content for emails and other digital communications. He employs vivid imagery and original pictures to convey ideas. 

John never fails to demonstrate his eloquence even during the most tedious tasks, making them more palatable through clever wordplay. Most notably, he remains undisturbed by challenges or potential. John’s ability to communicate with impactful precision makes him an invaluable asset to our organization.


John has proven himself to be a great problem solver in the workplace. He consistently demonstrates his versatility and insight. His ability to quickly assess challenging situations and develop creative solutions is awe-inspiring.

He is driven to pinpoint issues and develop approaches that move things forward with astonishing speed. 

On numerous occasions, John has identified critical problems that others have overlooked, then swiftly devised workable solutions. This resourcefulness is integral to our team’s success, and we are fortunate to have him as a member.


I commend Judith for her stellar performance in teamwork. She has consistently demonstrated an ability to collaborate effectively with colleagues. She listens attentively and contributes meaningfully to discussions.

By bringing a unique perspective to the table and speaking up when necessary, she was able to assist in resolving conflicts between teammates efficiently. Additionally, she always takes the initiative, creating creative solutions that solve problems quickly and facilitate a smoother workflow. 

As such, her presence has been invaluable to our team.

Accuracy to work

Michael has demonstrated remarkable quality and accuracy in all his work. His attention to detail is outstanding. 

He consistently meets deadlines without compromising the integrity of the task at hand. With an ever-curious mindset, he constantly seeks new challenges that will allow him to sharpen his skills. 

In short, Michael is a reliable asset whose expertise and acumen are invaluable to any team.

Punctuality and attendance

Jeremy has consistently demonstrated exemplary attendance and punctuality in his role. He always arrives at the office before starting and rarely requests a leave of absence.

Moreover, he regularly puts in extra hours to ensure that tasks are completed. Thus allowing for a high degree of accuracy and efficiency in his work. This level of diligence and commitment to duty is genuinely laudable, making him an invaluable asset to the team.

Ability to meet goals

Hilary has consistently demonstrated an impressive ability to meet the goals set before him. His enthusiasm for reaching targets is evident in the creative solutions he brings to any challenge and his tenacious attitude toward achieving success.

Hilary often goes above and beyond to ensure tasks are completed efficiently. His vast expertise allows him to promptly identify problems and rectify them. A trait that has saved countless hours of wasted time and effort from both himself and his colleagues. 

Although occasionally his vocabulary can be colloquial, his peers appreciate his unique perspective and enjoy working with him. 

Hilary’s capacity for meeting objectives ensures continual fruition even during difficult times.


Writing an excellent employee performance review summary requires careful consideration and thought. You have to be objective, fair, and specific in your review and focus on the employee’s strengths and areas for improvement. 

Always take your time to craft comprehensive and constructive reviews to help your employees understand their strengths and weaknesses.

A great performance review will ultimately determine the success of your organization, so put in your best when writing it. This guide on how to write performance review summarywill come in handy!

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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